Would Chelsea’s José Mourinho have been a good fit at Manchester United?

October 29, 2014

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“On Sunday, a little before four o’clock, José Mourinho will leave the tunnel at Old Trafford and walk along the front of the South Stand. He will see ahead of him the touchline along which he sprinted and slid in 2004 after his Porto side had beaten Manchester United in the Champions League with a late goal. And before the halfway line he will turn right, and take his place in the away dug-out. Given he is not a man who seems particularly to regret, he may not even cast a glance to the bench 15 yards in front of him and wonder what might have been but there is another reality, not that far removed from this one, in which he would have been sitting in the home dug-out.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Are West Ham for Real?

October 29, 2014

“What’s more strange: that the lead photo for this piece is of a “semi-robotic” mascot named Hammerhead basking in bubbles at West Ham’s Upton Park? Or that if the season ended today, West Ham would be in the Champions League? Usually the top of the Premier League table is pretty predictable. You have the usual mega-club suspects (you know who), a couple of perennial almost-theres (Spurs, Everton), and a surprise who starts strong and fades away down the stretch. That hasn’t been the case this season.” Grantland


Spanish football column: Real Madrid’s Clasico, managerial changes and more

October 29, 2014

“The season’s first Clasico was won by Real Madrid and their devastating counter-attacking that left Barcelona unable to deal with the scintillating football the home side produced in the Bernabeu on Saturday evening. Luis Enrique’s bold decision to hand Luis Suarez his competitive debut for the club, 2 days after his 3 month ban for biting concluded, first looked like it would pay off, but then it back-fired as the Uruguayan’s lack of match-fitness became palpable.” Outside of the Boot


10 Reasons Why LFC Are Struggling

October 29, 2014

Brendan Rodgers Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur
“Things are rarely as simple as they seem. And yet, over the weekend, I had people telling me they knew exactly what was going wrong at Liverpool. And it was often just one thing. (I was told I was ‘naive’ to think that it’s any more complex than that, by the archetypal Dunning-Kruger tweeter.) One comment – stated as a fact – was that last season was 99% down to Suarez, 1% down to Rodgers. I found this odd. Being pedantic, I noted that Suarez didn’t even play when 10 of the 84 points were won; meaning that, at the very most, it could only have been 88% down to Suarez. The Uruguayan scored 31% of the Reds’ league goals, and even adding assists, was still involved in fewer than half of them. Then there’s the assumption that Rodgers had nothing to do with the striker’s improved form, or the other 57 league goals that did not involve the now-departed superstar. It is, of course, a ludicrous suggestion, but stupid is as stupid does. Another blamed Balotelli for everything. Everything!” Tomkins Times


Tactical Analysis | Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea: Both sides opt for caution in midfield

October 29, 2014

“A lot of the big games in the Premier League are built up with their own little sub plots and storylines, and this one was no different, with Mourinho and van Gaal hogging the limelight in the build up to the game. The student, and his teacher, waxed lyrical about each other as we got close to kick off, but all the love was left behind in the press rooms as the two rivals took to the field for an intensely competitive encounter.” Outside of the Boot


Tactical Analysis | Real Madrid 3-1 Barcelona: El Clasico won by Marcelo & Isco’s partnership

October 29, 2014

“Experience in tactical decision making ultimately won the El Clasico as Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid proved to be better organised, more mature and adept at taking on this fixture, while Luis Enrique could be accused of a little naivety in his first managerial experience of this monumental game.” Outside of the Boot


FIFA may be threatening retaliation and taking World Cup 2015’s crazy to a whole new level

October 29, 2014

“The deranged run-up to the 2015 World Cup leapt over another ridiculous bar on Monday, with lawyers for a group of prominent players claiming FIFA has threatened retaliation over a lawsuit filed last month. That claim, one that seeks to keep next summer’s event from being played on artificial turf, is expected to be heard before the end of the year, giving both sides a few more weeks to ramp up their crazy ahead of a possible conclusion.” Soccer Gods